Saturday, February 6, 2016

Weekly Winners

Below is a list of all of the winners from last week.

Sue G.
Appealed by Emma Chase

All winners have been notified via email and are posted on the Rafflecopter form from that giveaway post. Thank you to everyone that stopped by and entered. =)

ARC Review: Tied in Knots by Z.B. Heller

Tied in Knots is a short novella from Z.B. Heller that continues the story of Ryan and Brandon from Tied Together. If you haven't read Tied Together, you will need to start there since this is not a standalone story. I was interested to see what would happen next for these guys, so I jumped on the chance to read this new novella featuring them. While I did enjoy seeing a glimpse into their HEA, I have to admit that there were a few things that kept me from loving this one. 

Now that Ryan and Brandon are married, they have a four year old son. Ryan left his job to stay at home with Ethan, while Brandon took over the entire practice when his partner left. Working long hours as a doctor, Brandon spends less and less time at home leaving both Ryan and Ethan to miss him. But when Brandon decides it is time for baby number two, things begin to fall apart and both Ryan and Brandon will have to work harder than ever to keep their marriage and family together. When Brandon's past suddenly returns, things go from bad to worse making both of them question whether they can overcome anything together or if there are some obstacles that are just too big. 

I liked these guys, but I still feel like they had some of the same issues as they had in the first book. Here we are 7 years into their HEA, and they are still having some communication issues. Marriage is hard and takes a lot of work, especially with a child/children involved. I really wanted Brandon to lean on Ryan, but he didn't. He assumed the worst and avoided Ryan more than he already had been. I felt so bad for Ryan, he was basically raising their son on his own. It was clear that the feelings were still there between these two, but I just felt a huge disconnect between them that never really felt solved here. While the chemistry was still there, I just wanted to see these two on the same page and working together before the very end here. It felt rushed and still partially unresolved. I think fans of Tied Together will enjoy seeing more of these guys, as well as Moxie, and of course Ethan was absolutely adorable. But I had just been hoping for more here.

**ARC Provided by Gossip Girls PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | 

Audiobook Review: Unexpected Fate by Harper Sloan, Narrated by Shirl Rae and Sean Crisden

Unexpected Fate is my absolute favorite book from Harper Sloan! It is so hard to pick just one since I love them all, but there is just something about this story that has stayed with me since I first read it. For those unfamiliar with Harper's books, Unexpected Fate is the first book in her Hope Town series (a spin-off from her Corps Security series featuring the children of the Corps characters), with each book being a standalone. So when I got the opportunity to experience my favorite book from Harper in a completely new way I jumped at the chance! Unexpected Fate features narrators Shirl Rae and Sean Crisden as Dani Reid and Cohen Cage.

Danielle Reid has loved Cohen Cage since they were children. Their families have been close and the two of them have always been a huge part of each other's lives. But Dani has always wanted more. She has loved him through every girl he has dated and through his deployments. But when she finally tells him how she feels, he begins to distance himself from her as much as he can. She knows that he feels something for her even if he refuses to acknowledge it. Dani and Cohen both know that with their family and friends so intertwined that if anything happens, things will be messy. But Dani is determined to finally get Cohen to give them a chance, or move on for good. 

Dani and Cohen have to be one of my all time favorite couples! These two are absolutely perfect for one another, and exactly what you would think of when the term soulmates is used. They have such a strong and undeniable connection that was there for their whole lives. These two started out as friends when they were kids, and grew into so much more as they got older. Though Cohen fought his feelings for Dani, it was clear that it was because of age and because he was trying to protect her. Dani was strong and feisty, and her love for Cohen was unwavering. Seeing her devotion to him is one of my absolute favorite things about this story. These two would go to the ends of the earth for each other, and their love and relationship is rare and special, and truly one of a kind. 

While I enjoyed seeing this story brought to life in a way that isn't possibly by simply reading the book, I have to admit that the choice in narrators wasn't my favorite. Shirl Rae had some moments where her voice came off as a bit stiff and robotic. She didn't seem to be able to bring Dani's personality to life at times, and some of Dani's spark seemed dimmed compared to how it felt by just reading the book. Same for Sean Crisden reading Cohen's POV here. His voice seemed to be a bit too old for the age group, and just didn't fit the character I have come to know and love. Unfortunately this is something I have seen previously from Sean Crisden, as he is often the narrator for many of my favorite NA stories. I'm not saying he is a bad narrator as he clearly has talent, but his voice just doesn't seem to lend itself to the younger characters. But even though the narration here wasn't my favorite, this story is so good that I found myself enjoying it regardless. Dani and Cohen's story is one that I would highly recommend, and if you love listening to audiobooks or love the NA or contemporary romance genres it is definitely work checking out.

**Audiobook Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Audiobook | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes

Sealed With a Kiss Event with Wendy LaCapra

Wendy LaCapra has been reading romance since she sneaked into the adult section at the library and discovered Victoria Holt & Jane Aiken Hodge. From that point on, she dreamed of creating fictional worlds with as much richness, intrigue and passion as she found within those books. Her stories have placed in several contests, including the 2012 Golden Heart®. She lives in NYC with her husband and loves to hear from readers.

Friday, February 5, 2016

ARC Review: The One For Me by Sydney Landon

I truly hate to waste my time so if I start a book and don't finish it, we can all conclude that there were some serious issues. I persevered through this book as long as I could because I like this author and I had faith that the ship would change course at some point during the journey. Around the 55% mark, I lost hope, we hit a iceberg, the ship went dooooown.

The background story seemed interesting. Crystal wants to walk on the wild side, Mark is trying to get off the wild side and on to the slow and easy side. I wanted to see where things would go. The answer is nowhere, things went nowhere. I knew we were in trouble in the first 10% of the book. The book starts when Crystal vomits on Mark and then faints on him. As he is holding her unconscious body in his arms, he decides that he is intrigued by her and she is "different." I'm thinking that was because he was used to women who were, oh I don't know, conscious. It gets worse though because Mark decides that instead of calling a doctor or like one of Crystal's friend, he will take the unconscious stranger home with him and care for her for 2 days. I was completely baffled by this.

I can suspend disbelief with the best romance readers but for goodness sake, how do you take a grown woman home with you like a stray cat? Did no one miss Crystal or wonder why she disappeared off the street. I mean seriously, after 2 days, he was only referring to her as "Angel because he didn't know her name.

Speaking of the word "Angel," OMG, it was used way too much. I actually did a word count because it was driving me crazy. My Kindle says the word is used 197 times throughout the book. That means the word was on more than every other page. It was just too much.

As for the actual relationship between Mark and Crystal, I have no idea how or why it happened. It just comes out of nowhere. One second Crystal is puking and unconscious. The next she and Mark are in love and there is almost no substantive conversation in between those events. The sexual relationship between the two characters also did nothing for me. Mark is supposed to be this kinky dominant guy but we never actually see that side of him once things move into the bedroom. Mark was sweet to the point of annoying me.

I like this author and I hope this book is not a sign of things to come in the future. If this is your first Sydney Landon book, first, read something else. If it's too late for that, don't hold this one against her, read some of the earlier books.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

Sealed With a Kiss Event with Elizabeth Essex

Elizabeth Essex is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed historical romance, including Reckless Brides, and her new Highland Brides series. Her books have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award and Seal of Excellence Award, and RWA’s prestigious RITA Award. The Reckless Brides Series has also made Top-Ten lists from Romantic Times, The Romance Reviews and Affaire de Coeur Magazine, and Desert Isle Keeper status at All About Romance. Her fifth book, A BREATH OF SCANDAL, was awarded Best Historical in the Reader’s Crown 2013.

When not rereading Jane Austen, mucking about in her garden, or simply messing about with boats, Elizabeth can be always be found with her laptop, making up stories about heroes and heroines who live far more exciting lives than she.  It wasn’t always so.  Long before she ever set pen to paper, Elizabeth graduated from Hollins College with a BA in Classics and Art History, and then earned her MA in Nautical Archaeology from Texas A&M University.  While she loved the life of an underwater archaeologist, she has found her true calling writing lush, lyrical historical romance full of passion, daring and adventure. 

Elizabeth lives in Texas with her husband, the indispensable Mr. Essex, and her active and exuberant family in an old house filled to the brim with books. 

ARC Review: Dark Room by L.P. Dover and Heidi McLaughlin

I was so excited when I found out that two of my favorite authors were writing a book together! Collaborations can be really great, but they are also sometimes risky because you don't know how well two writing styles will mix. I have to say that with Dark Room, Heidi McLaughlin and L.P. Dover did an amazing job of meshing their styles together in a cohesive way that I really loved. The story and set of characters were fantastic and I honestly could not get enough! I loved this book and couldn't put it down! I cannot wait to get more from these two and this series!

I really have to be careful here with what I reveal, so I am not going to summarize much of the story with here. This is really one book to go into blind without having all the details. While I was excited to begin with, when I quickly figured out what was going on here I couldn't believe how much better this book got for me. It was already promising enough with some of my favorite authors writing it, but it also ended up being my specific crack when it comes to tropes and trust me when I tell you it was amazing!

Society X is an exclusive club that serves it's patrons their every desire. Those hand selected get the chance to be a part of a different membership within the club itself, in which there are a strict set of rules that each person must follow. No names, no numbers, and everything must remain completely anonymous. With each room in the club having a specific purpose, the Dark Room allows members to experience their fantasies without anyone knowing who you are. Completely in the dark, members must rely on their other senses to experience a passion unlike anything they have ever done before. For Parker, it started as a business venture and quickly turned into an addiction that consumed his every thought. For Mia, it was an opportunity for her to move on from her ex and find the girl she had lost along the way. But soon both Parker and Mia find that they want more than just the Dark Room. But how can it be anything more when they don't know anything about each other, including the other's name? 

I loved Mia and Parker. These two were so sexy, and I loved their scenes together. While you might question how there could be much steam here when they weren't allowed to see one another or speak to each other, I have to say just trust me. The sex between these two could not have been hotter! I love me some dirty talkers and when a man gets vocal with his girl, but these two had every bit as much chemistry and heat as you would expect in a story like this. What Parker and Mia had went beyond words, and I really enjoyed seeing how well they connected without ever even saying a single thing. These two were the perfect match for each other, and I loved them. 

I really loved this story and without going into details, this book surprised me in a lot of ways. I didn't know much of what to expect beyond what the blurb mentioned of the club, but it was so much more than I could have imagined! I expected this book to be good, but L.P. Dover and Heidi McLaughlin absolutely blew me away! I honestly cannot wait for more from these two, and I think that the characters we met here are so interesting that I hope each of them gets a story. I will definitely be waiting for the next Society X book, and I think that this series could very well end up being one of my all time favorites! If you like some steamy romance with a unique and well written story, this book is an absolute must read!

**ARC Provided by Enticing Journey Book Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes | 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

ARC Review: Play Hardest by J.T. Fox

Play Hardest is the third and final installment in the Hot for Him series from J.T. Fox. This installment picks up after the events of the first two books and needs to be read in order as it is the continuation of Jordan and Eric's story. After how the last installment ended, I couldn't wait to get more of these two. I needed to know what happened, and I enjoyed seeing more of these two sexy guys. 

Jordan and Eric have been trying to figure out who is blackmailing them, but so far they have been unable to. At the end of Play Harder, it appeared that the blackmailer had escalated things when Eric's helmet was tampered with and he wound up in the hospital. Though Jordan and Eric didn't want to go public and fought their feelings for one another, Jordan knew he would do whatever it took to get to the bottom of who was behind the blackmail. But will they be able to catch the person responsible and find a way to have successful careers if the truth about them is revealed? 

I was really torn about how to feel after the ending of the last installment. I really enjoyed the heat and chemistry between these two and was glad to see them finally exploring that. But I was also very frustrated with Jordan's actions. I really loved how he made up for that here though, and it was good to see these two finally working towards a future together. They seemed to really be on the same page and I was glad that they were able to see what was really important here. Their chemistry was never in question, but I will admit that their connection was a bit of a harder sell for me. While it was clear that these two were developing something, I felt like it was a bit too insta-love for me to really believe in the intensity of their feelings at that stage. Not that I didn't believe it would get there, I just didn't think that it was possible for these two to really be in love with how hot and cold they had both been running. There was so much running and push and pull, that we didn't really get to see them actually together for any length of time before they were full steam ahead. 

Overall, this was a good sexy series and I enjoyed Jordan and Eric's story. I do think that things felt a bit rushed here, and I would have liked to have seen more of Jordan and Eric together. I think had we experienced this as one novel rather than three short installments, it might have seemed a bit more cohesive and possibly more realistic. But I really just wanted to see more development and emotional connection between Jordan and Eric and I don't feel like we ever fully got that. If you like short and sexy M/M stories and hot football players, I recommend giving this series a shot. Jordan and Eric were very steamy together and I liked their characters a lot.

**ARC Provided by Gossip Girls PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes

ARC Review: Will's True Wish by Grace Burrowes

Right off I have to confess that Grace Burrowes is not an author I love but she is an author I always want to read. I know that might sound like a contradiction, but I’m always curious to see what story she has come up with and what new situation her characters will face. When I first read her I thought that she was boring. Now I’ve come to realize that she takes her time with her hero and heroine and that she never rushes a plot.

In true Burrowes fashion, her hero is very unique. Although a peer of the ton, Will Dorning, is a dog trainer. He has a big appreciation and understanding of canines and his peers pay him to help them deal with their pets. Susannah Haddonfield is not really a dog person but in order to help her sisters’ marriage prospects, she has decided to go to Will for help. Susannah believes that if she can seem like she likes dogs her sister will have better opportunities to marry. Will and Susannah have known each other since they were both young and coming out into society. When Susannah was making her debate she was terribly bullied and Will often came to her rescue. Now that Susannah is on the shelf she acts more like a chaperone. This is a role that she takes to gladly. She is must happier seating around and reading Shakespeare than she was trying to find a husband.

Will and Susannah develop a mature friendship as they renew their friendship. I really liked the way Burrowes took her time with the story and with the plot. In the mist of their budding friendship a problem is occurring in society. Dogs are disappearing and pet owners are losing their loving companions. Will’s brothers are also involved and a great addition to the story. The secondary characters, many from the previous books, were fun and entertaining. I do have some hang ups about the story. I wish Will had had a better reason for not wanting to marry Susannah. At the beginning it was because he didn’t think he could support her financially but as his dog training business became more and more successful this was no longer an issue. Also, I like Susannah but sometimes it was hard to figure out her character.

I did enjoy the funny banter and the witty scenes. I thought this was a classic Burrowes book and I am confident that her fans will enjoy it. I plan to read more stories by her and am intrigued by the other books in the series.

**ARC provided by Pubslsher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

Sealed With a Kiss Event with Anna Harrington

Anna Harrington is a new author writing sexy Regency romances. She fell in love with historical romances—and all those dashing Regency heroes—while living in London. She loves to travel, fly airplanes, and hike, and when she isn’t writing, she spends her time killing innocent rose bushes in her garden. 

ARC Review: Noah's Journey by C.A. Harms

Noah's Journey is the third book in the Sawyer Brothers series from C.A. Harms. Not only do I love this series, but I love everything I have read from Harms. Each book in this series is a standalone, but the characters are interconnected. If you haven't read the previous books though, you can absolutely jump in here with no problems. I really enjoyed Noah's story, and I liked seeing all my favorite characters from this series again! 

Noah was left with a broken heart when his girlfriend left him and the country life behind for the big city. He vowed to never give his heart away again, but four years later he is finally open to taking a chance with Alena. Things are going great until his ex suddenly returns to town, with her nearly four year old son who looks just like Noah. Finding out he is a father and missed out on so much with his son, Noah will do whatever it takes to make sure that he never misses anything again. But with his and Alena's relationship just starting, can he have both his son and the life he was beginning to build with Alena? 

I really liked these two. They had so much going for them, just to have everything change! I thought that both Alena and Noah handled things well, considering they had absolutely no idea how to deal with things. Yes they made mistakes and things were far from easy, but it was clear that both of them wanted to make things work despite everything that was going on. Alena had fears and insecurities from her childhood, and Noah's ex didn't help things. I felt really bad for her at times, and yet she was such a great person. She was supportive and understanding with Noah, and she really embraced his son right away. Noah was dedicated to his son and to showing him how important he was to him. I loved seeing him embrace that role instantly, and the love for Austin was clear right away. Though he didn't always handle things the best with Alena, it was clear that he cared about her. He had no idea what he was doing or how to balance everything, but he was trying and that was what really mattered. He also wasn't afraid to admit when he messed up and apologize, and honestly that is something that made me fall for him even more! These two had great chemistry and a clear connection, and I loved seeing them together! 

The only thing that I will say is that I felt like this book focused more everything that was going on with Noah and Austin as well as the family and his ex than it did on Noah and Alena's growing relationship. Their relationship almost felt like a subplot here with everything else that was going on. Not that I didn't enjoy seeing him become a father and learning how to deal with that change, but I missed some of Alena and Noah really connecting here. I believed their connection and their feelings, but I would have liked to have seen more of it. That was especially true for the epilogue. While it was good to see how things turned out down the road and getting caught up on all of the Sawyer brothers and their women, we saw a lot had gone on for Noah and Alena, yet we didn't get to experience it. There was so much more story there for them, and I was sad to have missed it. I felt like we were just told the highlights, and I think we missed out on a lot by not actually seeing it. I still really loved Noah and Alena, and I definitely think that fans of this series will enjoy this book. I have to say that I am most excited about the next book in this series though, and getting a glimpse at Olivia's story has me chomping at the bit for more! I have loved her since we first met her, and I cannot wait to get her story! After growing up with her dad and uncles, she is a feisty one and I know I am going to love her even more than I already do! I highly recommend this series, and you can't go wrong with anything from C.A. Harms.

**ARC Provided by Enticing Journey Book Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

ARC Review: The Master by Tara Sue Me

The Master is part of the erotic Submissive Series, it's the story of Sasha and Cole. Prior to this installment, I read two other books in the series which focuses on a group of play partners. I really liked one of the books, The Collar, but this book reminded me more of the The Exhibitionist which I did not like as much.

Tara Sue Me is an incredibly talented writer in the erotic genre. She really excels at character building and conveying the connection between the main couple.In this book, Sasha (who appears in other books in the series) has suffered a serious trauma during a play session that got out of hand. Sasha's prior incident put her in the hospital and left her with acute PTSD. Despite her history, Sasha still desires sexual domination and wants to veer back into a Dominant/submissive relationship. Enter Cole. Cole is the "bad ass" Dom who knows how to deliver both pain and pleasure on levels that have become the stuff of legends in the play group. Cole is more than just a Dom, he is accustomed to a Master-Slave relationship.

The play group decides that Cole is the perfect person to transition Sasha from the traumatized sub who had a bad experience back into the proud submissive that she was on the road to becoming. I'm not entirely sure why the group thought that Cole was the best match for Sasha but hey, I just kind of went with it. My issue with the book is that because of Sasha's trauma, Cole decides that he can't have sex with her. So a lot of the book is Cole teaching Sasha how to be a submissive and how to trust a Dom. And that's ok but it got to be kind of tedious and went on for just too long. A subtext develops between Sasha and Cole as Sasha gets to know Cole more and their relationship moves past physical training to something more emotional. Sasha decides that she wants to try being Cole's slave and a new training process starts (lucky for us, that one involves sex).

My problem with the whole book is that it is very very mid-tempo. It's not fast or slow, it just kind of goes along somewhere in between. The issue is that there isn't any real extrinsic conflict in the plot. All of the conflict is internal to the characters. It is about their mental struggle to accept their relationship beyond the time boundary they put on it. This is a book that it would be really hard to spoil because not a whole lot happens beyond what you could read in the synopsis. The weird thing is, I'm not saying the book is bad, it wasn't. It just wasn't compelling and I was disappointed because both Cole and Sasha had the capacity to give us so much more. Despite the fact that these books continue to be a little low energy for me, I will keep up with the series just because the writing and erotic content is so good.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |